Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “#Austen”

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 post #39 (oopsie, I missed this # earlier) – Henry Tilney’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Amanda Grange has written a few of these (I believe I’ve already reviewed Captain Wentworth’s Diary and Mr. Darcy’s Diary, both of which I enjoyed).  I tried this one next because Henry Tilney is one of my favorite Austen characters, he’s smart and funny, unlike some of the other more serious Austen heroes.

We start with Henry at home from school, years before the action in Northanger Abbey. His mother is still alive, and his elder brother isn’t quite as jerky or jaded.  Both of those things change pretty quickly. We also get to see Henry’s relationship with his sister Eleanor, and their love for gothic novels. General Tilney comes off even worse than he does in the original.

Another great part of the backstory is how we meet Eleanor’s beau, he of the papers left behind at the Abbey that so set off Catherine Morland’s imagination. It’s a sweet part of the story that we don’t get in Austen’s book. I’d almost like to see Eleanor Tilney’s diary, to learn more about that story.

So, Henry goes to Bath with the family and meets the lovely Catherine. He has spent his life searching for his heroine, and believes he has found her. Then dad gets involved, and we get to see how Henry deals with him (pretty manly, in my opinion).

This is yet another Austen-adjacent fun book. I’m pretty glad there are plenty of people out there writing these books. Some of them are even worth reading.

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Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #17 – His Good Opinion by Nancy Kelley

OK, now I’m done with the Austen additions. At least for now.  This is another P&P told from Darcy’s point of view, but not as good as Pamela Aiden’s trilogy, in my humble opinion.  The author does give a bit of backstory, starting with Darcy surprising Georgiana (and Wickham) at Ramsgate, which I liked. Although it would have been better if Darcy had just beat the shit of Wickham there & then. That would have made for some interesting bits in P&P, ret-con wise.

Anyway, this book once again traces P&P, only without as much humor as Aiden’s books, and considerably less detail. However, it was still the usual entertaining diversion, tailor made for Austenites, by Austenites.  There’s not much else to say about it, outlining the plot would be pointless.  Darcy starts out his usual haughty self, and learns to loosen up and earn Lizzie’s love.

Reading stories like this is like wearing comfy old slippers. I may not go back to them like I go back to the originals, but they’ll do when I’m tired of the same old stuff.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #16 – Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Oopsie, I was wrong. Yet more Austen-plus stories.  This one at least has a bit of a twist – a murder mystery written by the venerable P.D. James.  I’ve read a bunch of James, so much so that I unfortunately can spot the murderer pretty easily. Yet, I was still entertained by the story, and would  recommend this one.

Lizzie and Darcy are at Pemberley and the Bingleys are visiting.  One night, Lydia shows up (ugh – I have always found her one of the more loathsome Austen characters) in hysterics, screaming that Wickham has been murdered (if only).  Sadly, he’s alive, but his friend Denny is lying dead in the woods, with Wickham standing over him.  Wickham swears he didn’t do it.  Darcy still needs to make enquiries, because he’s the local magistrate. He has to recuse himself, though, given the family relationship.  Wickham is prosecuted for the murder, but Darcy does some investigating on his own, like the clever lad he is.

The book was neither great nor bad, it was just all right. The murderer was pretty well telegraphed, and the characters weren’t strictly Austenesque. I heard an interview with James on NPR when the book first came out, and I about fell all over myself to get it the moment it was released (on Kindle). I guess I don’t mind having spent money on it, but I might have preferred to have spent less.  Or maybe I’m just spoiled by all the freebies.

Either way, this is yet another OK addition to the post-Austen genre, and pretty standard P.D. James fare.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #14 – Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anne Elliott

I might have a problem.  I can’t stop reading Austen-adjacent books.  This one follows little Miss Darcy after Lizzie and Darcy are married and they’re all living at Pemberley.  She’s keeping a journal of her daily life, which isn’t terribly exciting.

Georgiana is now old enough to be “out,” but isn’t really interested in getting married, because she’s still so damn shy.  Lizzie is working with her on that, and she’s getting better, but she’s not quite there.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh has decided that Georgiana should be married, and of course is sticking her big nasty nose into everything, presenting a very unsuitable suitor.

Meanwhile, Georgiana realizes that she’s in love – with Colonel Fitzwilliam, her much older cousin and guardian. I really don’t like this, I think it’s an awful idea.  But I guess some people (including the author) were shipping them (?!). I don’t mind the cousin thing, it’s the whole “in loco parentis” deal that he’s had over her since Mr. Darcy (senior) died. Them being in love is just creepy to me.

Georgiana does some growing up in this book, which is entertaining enough. Elliott writes fairly well, and definitely kept me engaged in the story. It’s a fine addition to the collection of any Austen-phile.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #15 – Pemberley to Waterloo by Anna Elliott

I think this might be my last Austen-ish book for a while. One can only read so much of this stuff.  This is the continuation of  Georgiana Darcy’s Diary, after Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam are in love.  I’ve already given my opinion of that (I disapprove).

Fitzwilliam is back from fighting Napoleon, and he’s got some serious PTSD. He has trouble dealing with everyone, even Georgiana, although she seems to be able to soothe him. Then Napoleon escapes from prison, and is on the march again.  Fitzwilliam is off to Belgium to fight, and Georgiana decides to go too (just like Becky Sharp, only way less cunning).  Somehow the little hothouse flower makes it.  Then Fitzwilliam is wounded, she has to search for him, then nurse him back to health.

Much like all of these other Austen-lite books, this one is fine, a nice diversion.  I’m not sure if it’s available in print or only for Kindle (full disclosure, it was a freebie), but if you like Austen, and don’t mind the whole Georgiana/Fitzwilliam thing, then this would be worth a read.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #12 – Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice by Jennifer Becton

Oh, Caroline Bingley.  You sad, snide, cranky little piece of work.  As this book starts, Caroline is pretty much banished after the weddings of her brother and Mr. Darcy to the Bennett girls.  She’s certainly earned it, so now she’s heading home to mother in the north of England, with a companion she treats poorly and clearly looks down on.

Caroline is not welcome to her brother’s home until she apologizes to Lizzie Darcy, which she refuses to do.  So she’s stuck in the boonies trying to find a man with a title to marry and worm her way back into society.  Of course, romantic complications ensue, the wrong man, hate turns to love, all that jazz.  The plot’s fairly predictable, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t entertaining.  Like the Charlotte Collins book, it’s reasonably well written, and a decent escape from real life.

The author’s most impressive feat is making Caroline Bingley an actual sympathetic character – one almost ends up liking her in the end.  Almost.  Either way, it’s a good addition to the Austen-adjacent oeuvre, and considerably better than most of Jane fan-fic out there.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #11 – Charlotte – Pride and Prejudice Continues by Karen Amindara

I’m a sucker for Jane Austen and (almost) all of the Austen-adjacent stories.  Some of them are actually almost decent.  This is one of those, a “what if” story following Charlotte Lucas-Collins after she leaves Meryton for Kent and a life with the lovely and talented Mr. Collins.

Charlotte is now living in Hunsford with the toadying Mr. Collins, dealing with the awful and interfering Lady Catherine de Bourgh, wanting a family, but not exactly thrilled with how one acquires a family.  Charlotte chafes at her situation, and at the hold the de Bourghs have over everyone in town.  As she gets to know her neighbors, she learns just how much Lady Catherine involves herself in everyone’s lives, mainly to their detriment.

A twist in this book that I’m not terribly fond of:  Charlotte begins something of an intrigue with Colonel Fitzwilliam – he falls in love with her and tries to get her to run away with him.  There’s a confrontation with Collins, Lizzie and Darcy show up, and I won’t spoil the ending.

It’s a simple, easy read, and best done with a working knowledge of Pride & Prejudice.  This book won’t set the world on fire, but it will provide a brief escape from the usual stupid daily-life crap, which is all I was looking for.

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